A newly upgraded Pacific Islands Pest List Database (PLD) was introduced at a regional workshop in Fiji, attended by Tonga’s Head of Quarantine and Quality Management Division, from 29 May to 2 June.
As threats from plant pests and diseases in the Pacific increase due to growing populations and increased trade and movement of people and goods, the Pacific Community (SPC) introduced the database, which records of pests and hosts that affect agriculture, forestry and the environment.
Over 19 biosecurity representatives from across eight countries in the Melanesian and Polynesian sub-regions attended the database training, including Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
Tevita Dawai, SPC SAFE Pacific Team Leader said in the past each Pacific Island country kept their own pest list and updated it only when requested.
“Now, this information is readily accessible through the PLD web-based portal, thus, increasing efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making for trade purposes and border protection from destructive pests and diseases."
The PLD has a record of more than 26,000 pest occurrences, comprising more than 10,000 pests on over 2,200 host species. SPC is the custodian of the database web portal.”
Biosecurity Authority of Fiji Entomologist, Jainesh Ram hoped that after this workshop, the participants would become familiar and well-versed with the upgraded Pest List Database, and to know how to input country data.
Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry representative Emily Lamberton said, this tool will enable their organisations to create a lot of efficiencies, helping uthem work together and will also make it easier to keep track of information within their agencies.
Head of Quarantine and Quality Management Division for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forest (MAFF) Siutoni Tupou told Matangi Tonga today, what is important is firstly for Tonga to urgently update the PLD because they have done a lot of pest surveys and pest surveillance in the past, which is not reflected in the Tonga PLD, even though they are widely published in the region.
Secondly, is the new upgraded version of the PLD by the IT company 'ACTON' whereby, the Plant Protection Officers, Extension Officers, Biosecurity Officers and the Stakeholders from the Public can connect and work together with updating the Tonga PLD, with MAFF as the Administrator.
“Thirdly, the work on updating the PLD is part of our responsibility as a member of IPPC and WTO,” she said.
Siutoni attended the workshop with Saimone Manu from MAFF's Research Division.
The training was funded by the European Union via the Safe Agricultural Trade Facilitation through Economic Integration in the Pacific (SAFE Pacific) project and supported by the Australia Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Similar training on the PLD will be carried out in the Micronesian region soon.